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POLICE FILES: Tales of a Rescue Beauty Lounge fangirl

November 30, 2010 by pam

My big love for Ji Baek and Rescue Beauty is no secret. I’ve written about it HERE and HERE.

So when I left for my trip to New York last month, visiting Rescue Beauty Lounge was on top of my list of priorities. And I was hoping that Ji would be there when I visited so I can finally meet her.

Then I thought, why leave it up to fate? I e-mailed Ji, told her I was in New York and asked when she’d be at the lounge. Ji replied a couple of hours later and told me she’d be there until 3 p.m. on Thursday.

But Thursday was a bit of a disaster schedule-wise and we ended up not making it to RBL. (I was sulking but we saw Sandra Oh outside Rockefeller Center – yes, Cristina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy – and that made me stop.) I was worried I wouldn’t get to see Ji anymore but luckily, she told me she’d be at the lounge the next day too.

The next day, Jill and I made our way to Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, where Rescue Beauty is located.

We missed the entrance the first time we walked by it. We had to retrace our steps.

I don’t know why I was looking for a big sign. I should have known better.

This is the entrance to Rescue Beauty Lounge.


This is the sign we missed.


I love how it feels like some sort of secret headquarters for polish fanatics.

Jill and I were trying to figure out which button to press to get into the building when a man carrying a cello case walked in. That man turned out to be Alex, Ji’s husband.

We were buzzed in, we walked up a flight of stairs, we went through a metal door and we were soon in heaven. Nail polish heaven.

Because I’m a nervous fangirl, I was still trying to figure out how to introduce myself to Ji. But almost immediately, she said, “Are you Pam?!”

It was great to finally see Ji face to face.

We talked quite a bit – about how crazy I am, about how often I e-mail her (Ji told Jill, “This girl e-mails me all the time! I feel like I’ve known her forever!”), about this crazy mixup with my friend James (it’s a long and sweet story that I will post about soon), about how crazy the RBL sale will be.

The entire time we were talking, I was hypnotized by the rows and rows of bottles and boxes from Rescue Beauty’s nail polish collection on the shelves. I spent a long time holding some of the bottles in my hands, excited that I was finally seeing colors I’ve only seen on my laptop’s screen. Stormy. Bikini Bottom. Square Pants. Holy crap. I loved them all.

I could have stayed there for hours and hours just staring at the polish but there were some things I needed to get done.

Like get an autographed copy of Rescue Your Nails for the awesome Miss Bun. That was her only request when she found out I was going to New York.

So I got the book, which is available at the lounge, and asked Ji to sign it.


And then I bought Rescue Beauty’s The Real Housewives of Tudor colors to add to my collection.




From left: Catherine H., Catherine, Jane and Anne.


And here’s the awesome part. As she was packing my purchases, I asked Ji to sign one of the boxes. She said no one’s ever done that before. I’m glad I was the first. Yes, I’m crazy and proud of it.

Ji said, “Which one?”

I said, “Which one’s your favorite?”

She said, “I’m still partial to Jane.” (She was wearing Jane that day and it looked so pretty.)

So Ji signed my bottle of Jane.


So freaking awesome.


I should have asked her to sign the bottle too.


Soon, we said our goodbyes. Ji gave me a big hug and said, “It was great to finally meet you.” I’m pretty sure she felt like she was hugging Stay Puft (yes, the marshmallow man from Ghostbusters) because in my excitement, I had completely forgotten to take off my big bubble coat the entire time I was there.

It was also only after we left that I realized I had been so overwhelmed by the experience of meeting Ji and seeing all the RBL colors in front of me that I wasn’t able to check out the rest of the stuff they were selling including RBL’s bath products which I’ve heard great things about.

But there’s always next time.

That was Friday, October 29.

Three days later, November 1, it was time for the big RBL sale.

There are many reasons to love Rescue Beauty (the fantastic colors, the flawless application, the perfect formula, the pretty packaging) and there are many reasons to love Ji (her passion for customer service, how hands on she is, how much she cares about the quality of her products) and here’s another reason – the big RBL sale. It may feel like Christmas to us (our favorite polishes at half off!) but it’s a sacrifice for Ji and her staff. During last year’s sale it took them two weeks to finish packing thousands of orders. And Ji packs the orders herself – and also answers customer service e-mails. How many other big bosses would do that for their customers?

The RBL sale was a day that had long been marked on my calendar. Because the sale was only going to be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., we stayed in that morning. I woke up early in Peter’s apartment in Jackson Heights, ready to shop.

I knew thousands of other RBL fans were going to be shopping at the same time as me and that shipping would take a while if I was one of the last ones to complete the order form. So I had to be early. And I had to be smart.

The night before, I had made changes in my RBL account. I changed the shipping address to California because Ji wasn’t sure the order would get to me before I left New York. She wasn’t even sure it would reach California before I left for Manila but I was willing to take the chance.

Before 11 a.m., I opened all the windows of all the colors I wanted to purchase. I put the proper number of polish bottles on each page – I was ordering two bottles of some of the colors because I was also buying for Smile and Tatin.

When the sale started, all I had to do was go to each page and click “Add to cart” “Add to cart” “Add to cart” “Add to cart.” It was funny how my heart was pounding the entire time. I finished crazy fast – in less than five minutes.

I know some people were complaining about colors that sold out too fast. There were even people speculating that Bikini Bottom was gone even before the sale started. That’s not true. Because I was still able to buy a bottle of that gorgeous blue jelly.

Two days later, I received shipping notification from Rescue Beauty. It was earlier than I expected. Then, a few days later, my order arrived. I still had over a week left in New York but I was glad to know that my package was already waiting for me in California.

There were so many orders that even though Ji and her staff were packing orders round the clock, it still took them days to finish the orders from the first ten minutes of the sale. It took them two weeks to pack and send out all the orders. Yes, people are that crazy about RBL.

When I arrived in California, this box was waiting for me.


I tore into it immediately.


The new members of my RBL army all lined up and ready for action.


While Jill was playing with Lego, I was playing with polish boxes.


My sale haul.




Bangin, Coral, Starfish Patrick, Square Pants, Bikini Bottom. So freaking pretty.


Recycle, Dead Calm, Under the Stars, Concrete Jungle, Stormy. Sigh. Concrete Jungle also disappeared really fast. I’m so lucky I got a bottle.


Scrangie, Mismas, Au Chocolat, Black Russian, Film Noir. Can’t wait to wear them all. I already have Film Noir on my toes.


Here are bottle pics of my new RBLs.

First, the Tudors.





And my sale haul:
















And even after all that, I still couldn’t stop playing with the bottles.


It’s crazy, I know.


So freaking pretty.


Who doesn’t love RBL porn?


My love for grays has replaced my love for greens. I can’t get enough of this color.


I love these colors too.


After opening the box, I immediately put on Bikini Bottom. Then, a few days after, while at Big Bear waiting for the snowstorm to hit, I wore Coral. Coral is a fantastic color and I am sorry to be showing it to you on my horribly dry and beaten up hands. Like I said before, it was on this trip that I realized the kind of damage cold weather can do to your skin. It’s just terrible.


Still, Coral = love.


When we finally went home to Manila (after a side trip to Japan – again, long story), one of the first things we did was get our nails done. I chose Dead Calm as my mani color and I love it. There are sheet marks all over my mani because jet lag hit me soon after getting my nails done but I don’t care, I still love it.


It is dark blue but not so dark that it looks almost black.


The formula was perfect, as you would expect from RBL.

It’s so funny, after the sale, I told friends that I was so happy to get all the colors I wanted from RBL. Now I feel like kicking myself for not getting colors like Yellow Fever, Bruised, Drifter, Cherry Love and Glamourpuss.

The sale wiped out some of RBL’s colors, with no promise that they will all return. Ji said that she will soon be taking votes on which colors she should bring back. I’m pretty sure I will be voting for Purple Haze which was already gone by the time I discovered the awesomeness that is RBL.

In the meantime I will be happy to play with my new bottles of RBL.


Thank you, Ji Baek, for rocking my world and filling it with color.


RBL, I will always love you.

Rescue Beauty Lounge is located at 34 Gansevoort Street New York NY. If you want to spread RBL love this holiday season, virtual gift certificates are now available on the RBL website. (So awesome, I know!)


  1. sheila says:


  2. melvel says:

    I got Square pants too, I love yellows.

    Welcome back, Pam! I’m excited to see your nail polish loot.

  3. Zara says:

    Unfortunately I don’t have any RBLs at this point because they’re so expensive, but I’m an RBL fangirl nonetheless! I am really inspired by how involved Ji is with her company and her customers.

    • pam says:

      aww, i really wish you tried the sale. the bottles were half off, only $9 each, practically the retail price of OPI and Essie…

      RBL is really inspiring :) They know how to make customers feel special.

  4. [...] Jill and I went to Rescue Beauty Lounge where I bought The Real Housewives of Tudor Collection, but you already know about that. Here’s where it gets funny. Aside from the visit to Rescue Beauty Lounge, I never made [...]

  5. [...] hello to two of the many polishes I got during last year’s Rescue Beauty Lounge sale. First up, Bikini Bottom, the soft blue jelly that drove people crazy because it disappeared super [...]

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